Nimitz heading to Bremerton for 16-month overhaul

EVERETT — The USS Nimitz is leaving for a 16-month stay on the other side of Puget Sound.

Naval Station Everett’s resident aircraft carrier, and the flagship of Carrier Strike Group 11, will undergo scheduled large-scale maintenance and upgrading at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton.

The carrier was originally scheduled to leave Tuesday, but the departure has been delayed by a maintenance issue.*

The work to be done includes modernization as well as the maintenance a 40-year-old aircraft carrier regularly needs.

The Nimitz has been homeported at Everett since 2012 but will change its homeport to Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton for the duration of the maintenance period.

The Navy billed the change in homeport as an administrative shift that will enable the ship’s crew to move family members to reduce the time of separation.

The Nimitz has a full complement of more than 3,000 sailors, but while in port had closer to 2,500 to 2,600, said Lt. Cmdr. Clint Phillips, the ship’s public affairs officer.

About 2,200 of the crew will transfer with the ship to Bremerton, Phillips said. Those include about 1,200 sailors who have families, many of whom live off-base in the Everett area and 1,000 sailors living on base in barracks.

A limited number of sailors have been reassigned to other roles in and around Naval Station Everett and will remain in the area, Phillips said, although each sailor’s situation is unique.

The ship returned from its last long-term deployment in December 2013 after covering more than 80,000 nautical miles over nine months in Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

In October, the Nimitz went to sea for training exercises near southern California.

Carrier Strike Group 11 includes the guided-missile destroyer USS Shoup, also based at Naval Station Everett, and three destroyers, a guided-missile cruiser and Carrier Air Wing 11.

The strike group will remain homeported in Everett, Phillips said, but its various component ships and air wings might be temporarily reassigned to various missions while the Nimitz is undergoing maintenance.

Naval Station Everett is also the homeport of the guided-missile destroyer USS Shoup** and two frigates, the USS Rodney M. Davis and USS Ingraham. Both frigates will be decommissioned this winter.

Chris Winters: 425-374-4165; Twitter: @Chris_At_Herald.

* An earlier version of this article gave an incorrect departure day for the Nimitz.

** An earlier version of this article listed an incorrect ship as part of the carrier group.

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